National Environmental Policy During the Clinton Years
We review major developments in national environmental policy during the Clinton Administration, defining environmental policy to include not only the statutes, regulations, and policies associated with reducing pollution, but also major issues of public lands management and species preservation. We adopt economic criteria for policy assessment — principally efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and distributional equity. While the paper is primarily descriptive, we highlight a set of five themes that emerge in the economics of national environmental policy over the past decade. First, over the course of the decade, national environmental targets were made more stringent, and environmental quality improved. Most important among the new targets were the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ambient ozone and particulate matter, issued by EPA in July 1997, which could turn out to be one of the Clinton Administration’s most enduring environmental legacies. Also, natural resource policy during the Clinton years was heavily weighted toward environmental protection. Environmental quality improved overall during the decade, continuing a trend that began in the 1970s, although improvements were much less than during the previous two decades. Second, the use of benefit-cost analysis for assessing environmental regulation was controversial in the Clinton Administration, while economic efficiency emerged as a central goal of the regulatory reform movement in the Congress during the 1990s. When attention was given to increased efficiency, the locus of that attention during the Clinton years was the Congress in the case of environmental policies and the Administration in the case of natural resource policies. Ironically, the increased attention given to benefit-cost analysis may not have had a marked effect on the economic efficiency of environmental regulations. Third, cost-effectiveness achieved a much more prominent position in public discourse regarding environmental policy during the 1990s. From the Bush Administration through the Clinton Administration, interest and activity regarding market-based instruments for environmental protection — particularly tradeable permit systems — continued to increase. Fourth, the Clinton Administration put much greater emphasis than previous administrations on expanding the role of environmental information disclosure and voluntary programs. While such programs can provide cost-effective ways of reaching environmental policy goals, little is known about their actual costs or effectiveness. Fifth and finally, the Environmental Protection Agency placed much less emphasis on economic analysis during the 1990s. EPA leadership was more hostile to economic analysis than it had been under the prior Bush Administration, and it made organizational changes to reflect this change in priorities.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Boyd, James, 2000. "The New Face of the Clean Water Act: A Critical Review of the EPA's Proposed TMDL Rules," Discussion Papers dp-00-12, Resources For the Future.
- Revesz, Richard L. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Environmental Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
- William D. Nordhaus, 1982.
"How Fast Should We Graze the Global Commons?,"
Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
615, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- M. L. Weitzman, 1974.
"On the Welfare Significance of National Product in Dynamic Economy,"
125, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Weitzman, Martin L, 1976. "On the Welfare Significance of National Product in a Dynamic Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 156-62, February.
- Solomon, Barry D., 1999. "New directions in emissions trading: the potential contribution of new institutional economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 371-387, September.
- Paul R. Portney & George M. Gray & John D. Graham, 1991. "Risk assessment and clean air policy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(2), pages 286-295.
- Stavins, Robert, 2000.
"Experience with Market-Based Environmental Policy Instruments,"
Working Paper Series
rwp00-004, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Experience with market-based environmental policy instruments," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 355-435 Elsevier.
- Stavins, Robert, 2001. "Experience with Market-Based Environmental Policy Instruments," Discussion Papers dp-01-58, Resources For the Future.
- Stavins, Robert, 2004.
dp-04-54, Resources For the Future.
- Dallas Burtraw & Alan Krupnick & Erin Mansur & David Austin & Deirdre Farrell, 1998. "Costs And Benefits Of Reducing Air Pollutants Related To Acid Rain," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(4), pages 379-400, October.
- Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Cropper, Maureen & Carlson, Curtis, 1998.
"Sulfur-Dioxide Control By Electric Utilities: What Are the Gains from Trade?,"
dp-98-44-rev, Resources For the Future.
- Curtis Carlson & Dallas Burtraw & Maureen Cropper & Karen L. Palmer, 2000. "Sulfur Dioxide Control by Electric Utilities: What Are the Gains from Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1292-1326, December.
- Carlson, Curtis & Burtraw, Dallas & Cropper, Maureen & Palmer, Karen L., 1998. "Sulfur dioxide control by electric utilities : what are the gains from trade?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1966, The World Bank.
- Jason Shogren, 1998. "A Political Economy in an Ecological Web," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 557-570, April.
- Khanna, Madhu & Quimio, Wilma Rose H. & Bojilova, Dora, 1998. "Toxics Release Information: A Policy Tool for Environmental Protection," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 243-266, November.
- Konar, Shameek & Cohen, Mark A., 1997. "Information As Regulation: The Effect of Community Right to Know Laws on Toxic Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 109-124, January.
- Toman, Michael & Shogren, Jason, 2000. "Climate Change Policy," Discussion Papers dp-00-22, Resources For the Future.
- Morgenstern, Richard & Harrington, Winston & Nelson, Per-Kristian, 1999. "On the Accuracy of Regulatory Cost Estimates," Discussion Papers dp-99-18, Resources For the Future.
- Arrow, Kenneth J. & Cropper, Maureen L. & Eads, George C. & Hahn, Robert W. & Lave, Lester B. & Noll, Roger G. & Portney, Paul R. & Russell, Milson & Schmalensee, Richard & Smith, V. Kerry & Stavins, , 1997. "Is there a role for benefit-cost analysis in environmental, health, and safety regulation?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(02), pages 195-221, May.
- Stavins, Robert & Newell, Richard, 2000. "Abatement-Cost Heterogeneity and Anticipated Savings from Market-Based Environmental Policies," Working Paper Series rwp00-006, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Richard Schmalensee & Paul L. Joskow & A. Denny Ellerman & Juan Pablo Montero & Elizabeth M. Bailey, 1998. "An Interim Evaluation of Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Trading," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 53-68, Summer.
- Kolstad, Charles D. & Toman, Michael, 2005.
"The Economics of Climate Policy,"
Handbook of Environmental Economics,
in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1561-1618
- repec:reg:rpubli:322 is not listed on IDEAS
- repec:reg:rpubli:98 is not listed on IDEAS
- Winston Harrington & Richard D. Morgenstern & Peter Nelson, 2000. "On the accuracy of regulatory cost estimates," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 297-322.
- Adam B. Jaffe et al., 1995. "Environmental Regulation and the Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturing: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 132-163, March.
- James Hammitt, 2000. "Are The Costs of Proposed Environmental Regulations Overestimated? Evidence from the CFC Phaseout," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 16(3), pages 281-302, July.
- Tietenberg, T H, 1990. "Economic Instruments for Environmental Regulation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 17-33, Spring.
- Hazilla, Michael & Kopp, Raymond J, 1990. "Social Cost of Environmental Quality Regulations: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 853-73, August.
- Hamilton James T., 1995. "Pollution as News: Media and Stock Market Reactions to the Toxics Release Inventory Data," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 98-113, January.
- Cropper, Maureen L. & William N. Evans & Stephen J. Berard & Maria M. Ducla-Soares & Paul R. Portney, 1992. "The Determinants of Pesticide Regulation: A Statistical Analysis of EPA Decision Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 175-97, February.
- Solow, Robert, 1993. "An almost practical step toward sustainability," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 162-172, September.
- Hahn, Robert W., 2000. "The Impact of Economics on Environmental Policy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 375-399, May.
- Hartman, Raymond & Wheeler, David & Singh, Manjula, 1994. "The cost of air pollution abatement," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1398, The World Bank.
- Goulder Lawrence H., 1995. "Effects of Carbon Taxes in an Economy with Prior Tax Distortions: An Intertemporal General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 271-297, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-01-38. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.